Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Duck-y Dilemma

On Wednesday we took DadToCherubs out for a birthday dinner around 5pm, and when we drove by the pond our 4 ducks were in the "spring", floating and flapping around happily.
When we returned home around 630pm, all 4 ducks were still in the spring, but one duck had a brownish red chest --- and upon closer inspection, he had BLOOD on his chest.
Cherub 1 and DadToCherubs tried to catch "said duck", however, they were unable to catch it before it moved out into deeper water. Several attempts were made, to no avail.
So later in the evening, just before dark, Cherub 1 and Cherub 2 and I went down to the pond for a misson ---- "To Catch Said Duck" ....
After nearly 2 hours running round and round the pond, secret "psssst" messages, more than a few "game plans", after tossing rocks "toward" (never AT them) the ducks trying to "corner" them in a smaller area where we could reach them, (and after being "eyed" by a police car who drove very slowly past, probaly thinking we were up to no good) ..... we were able to corner all 4 ducks in the little spring area .... and then baiting them with food (oats and hanburger buns - HA !), Cherub 1 finally got "said duck" in his hands.
"Said duck's" remaining 3 buddies were less-than-pleased as we carried him away ---- probably worried he was headed for the oven, or for a coating with orange sauce --- little did they know.
So as we walked up to the house, with "said duck" firmly in Cherub 1's hands, I checked for injuries -- I discovered that "said duck" had a major wing injury. The "elbow" area of his wing was actively bleeding, and had no feathers or skin -- over 50% of his wing was "only" raw muscle tissue and bone. It was a pretty nasty injury.
When we reached the porch, I called our vet. (We love our vet !) I know, I know ... how odd ... a vet caring for a duck ?? Well, he also has some other unusual patients since we met him 10 years ago -- a skunk, a groundhog, a prairie dog, a wolf, a few chinchillas, a few ferrets, AND a tarantula who once cracked it's exoskeleton but was saved by Super Glue.
Soooooo, the doc decided that the injury sounded like a Snapping Turtle had gotten a big bite out of "said duck" (this was our assessment too .). After hearing of the injury, and asking questions to assess the situation, the vet gave the "game plan".
He vet advised us to clean the wound with peroxide as well as we could (and the surrounding areas) -- the good news was that during this first clean up (with the vet on the phone) we discovered that the wing was not broken (HOORAY !), but it was of course still very badly injured. After the clean up, we were instructed to put the duck into the bathtub and flush the area for at least several minutes (or longer if IT would allow) with a cool shower mist. Then we were instructed to dry the duck as well as possible, and coat the wound in a special ointment mix (custom blended by our vet - we keep it here "on hand"). He told us to do this every day, and to keep the duck confined for a week or two, until the raw tissue was completely healed. The doc thinks the wound will heal well (mostly because it was found so quickly and cleaned up before it had "clotted" on it's own), but is not sure about the feathers on the wing -- if they will grow back fully, nor if they will grow back correctly. But since Pekin ducks are not distance flyers, it should not be an issue.
So, DadToCherubs and Cherub 1 have been caring for "said duck" as instructed each night ... and last night I finally remembered to get out my camera.
DadToCherubs showering "said duck" with cool water, being sure to rinse the peroxide well away, and also being sure to rinse the area under and around the injured wing. Oh, and "said duck" seems to truly enjoy this nightly shower .... walking around, lifting it's wing to the flow of the water, moving about so as to position itself UNDER the flower of water, pacing up and down the bathtub following the shower head (it seems to really love the shower spraying on his head the most. HA !).

Here is "said duck" lifting it's head, to get closer to the shower head spraying water -- it prefers the spray on his head. It will even stand on it's "tippy toes" to get closer to the shower head, assuming ducks HAVE "tippy toes". Washing the wing is a challenge, because "said duck" is contantly trying to direct the water flower to it's head. HA !! (But when water does flow OVER the injured wing, the duck lifts the poor little wing so the spray goes underneath to the other injured areas - we think the cool water must be comforting to these injuries because the duck does not seem to mind at all.)

SMILE FOR THE CAMERA --- DadToCherubs is drying "said duck" with a fluffy towel -- the duck enjoys this part, and makes a "purring" noise as he is gently rubbed dry with the towel. When you stop drying, the duck will crane it's neck and rub it's own head and neck along the towel -- still "purring".

It would seem that "said duck" has decided that we are trying to help it, and so it is MOST cooperative, even seeming to enjoy the "fuss".

DadToCherubs and his friend, "said duck" (who also enjoys being petted under it's chin and on the bottom of it's bill.).

May 6 UPDATE: Our duck is doing well. The children have been faithfully giving it fresh water and lots of yummy food daily - they even constructed a small "pool" with a rubbermaid crate and some scrap wood (for a ramp). They have also been bringing "said duck" in nightly for a shower to clean it's injured wing, and then have been coating it's wounds in the Mighty M ointment. It appears that the wound is nearly covered with new skin (HOORAY !) however we do not see any sign of new feathers yet. "Said duck" is perky and seems genuinely happy to see whomever graces it's presense with a visit --- always eager for a pet on the head, or make an "under-beak" rub.

Isn't it wonderful for children to be so caring and attentive to an animal ?? We are so blessed to be able to include these tender moments in our "school" and in our home life.

1 comment:

Kris! said...

What a wonderful tale, with a very happy ending. You read about wild animals becoming friendly when people care for them in story books, so it's incredible to see life imitating art!

MusingMom & AtHomeScience